Saturday, April 24, 2010

Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta is a delicious staple for many kitchens. Ricotta can turn any pasta dish or casserole into something spectacular, as well as become a quick, yet tasty dessert. But, at almost $4.00 a tub- the price is CRAZY.

I've started making ricotta myself after reading how simple it was. This is an activity my children love helping with...what's more fun then watching milk & vinegar sour into something so delicious? Well, tons of things- but making your own ricotta seems magical.

There are as many ways of making this easy cheese as there are people who make it. This is my way:

You will need:
  • 1 quart milk, preferably whole.
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • about 3 tablespoons plain white vinegar
  • a wooden spoon
  • a bowl big enough to hold the milk, plus room to gently stir
  • cheese cloth, or a clean tea-towel
  • a strainer
  • pinch of salt
  • a container with a lid, should hold about a cup
Begin by GENTLY heating the milk to a bare simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Be prepared to yank it off the heat if you are using an electric stove.

Transfer the hot milk to the bowl, and stir in the vinegar. It will start to look funky. Think baby bottle left in the car while grocery shopping... Stir very, VERY gently on occasion.

Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. There should be a clear separation of liquid (whey) & the soft curds of cheese. It may also still smell vinegar-ish, no worries, it will rinse out.

Strain off liquid in a towel or cheesecloth lined strainer. Or, if you wish- you can pour into a bowl & squeeze the liquid out like I do- to show the kids how much whey is left. Some people also like to save this liquid for various dietary reasons. Not me...

Rinse VERY GENTLY under cold running water & squeeze out moisture again. Mix in a pinch of salt- even if you are using the cheese for a dessert- this brings out the flavors of the ricotta.

You can now press your cheese in a mold, or just pack it into a lidded container and pop in the fridge. It can be used right away, but we like to makes ours a day ahead, and the cheese has a bit more flavor.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe! I can't wait to make my own ricotta cheese